DDoP: Pictophone

Originally written: June, 2008
Inspiration word: Pictophone
Inspired by: Clay Robeson

Random sentences inspiring even more random drawings, which lead to other sentences, or just the connection between word and image in the slideshow of our own brains? Which is more real? More creative?

The answer? Both. And neither. To see a picture and be inspired is magic whether you share the results or not. To find a poem in a photograph, a novel in a portrait, a scandalous love story in the naturally occurring vignette of two people in the park…this is what the creative spark provides.

Whether with verbal pointillism or a game of pictophone, we connect the dots.

Listen: Bathtub Mermaid: Pictophone

DDoP: This Isn’t Treasure Island

Tonight’s Dog Days of Podcasting post is a 100-word distilled moment written in August, 2009:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems were constant friends in childhood, poems my grandmother and I would memorize and recite. I knew all about having a little shadow, and going up in a swing.

One poem that I never appreciated until this weekend, which has been spent largely in bed, was “The Land of Counterpane,” in which a sick child turned the hills and valleys of his comfortable bed into all manner of landscapes for his imagination.

I don’t imagine my quilt squares as separate countries, but I do still let imagination run wild.
Even days spent propped on pillows have magic.

You can listen to it HERE.

DDoP: Polyurethane

Transcript of yesterday’s entry for The Dog Days of Podcasting. Transcript may not match final recording.

Listen to the episode at The Bathtub Mermaid.

PolyurethaneThe first time I heard the word “polyurethane” I was nine years old, and begging my mother for new roller-skates – the kind that have the smooth wheels like the rental skates at the rink. It must have been around my birthday, or maybe Christmas.

Shortly afterward, I received a pair of roller-skates with white leather booties sporting blue stripes, and happy reddish-pinkish polyurethane wheels.

Every day after school, every Saturday after the usual cartoon hour (which I never watched), I would walk sideways down the three floors from our condo to the ground, holding onto the rail so I wouldn’t roll off the edge of a step. My daring friends and I would skate in the local park, racing down the steep hill and across the low bridge over the creek, and then up the gentle slope on the other side.

We never missed the sharp turn onto the bridge, or went careening off the unprotected edge, but sometimes we almost did.

Sometimes I think we secretly wanted to.

The most recent occurrence of the word “polyurethane” in my life was earlier today, when our hired contractors sanded our kitchen cabinets and painted them with a coating of the stuff.

I’m convinced the fumes have made me slightly high.

I’m also convinced nothing was as awesome as being nine years old, and roller-skating down a steep hill and across a bridge.

Polyurethane…it’s everywhere.

The Truth About Sharks

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my second episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Truth About Sharks

“Shark week starts on Sunday,” I told my partner as we lounged among the smooshed pillows and rumbled sheets of our bed one hot July afternoon.

“How does a woman named ‘Desert Flower’ end up obsessed with sharks,” he asked, his long fingers idly stroking the skin of my arm.

“I don’t know…they’re sleek, they’re graceful, they’re elegant – ”

“They’re vicious – ”

“They aren’t, actually,” I corrected. “Anyway, I met one once.”

“You met a shark?”

I rolled over in bed, propping my chin on my hands and kicking my feet up behind me. “Mmhm. I was nine , and I was at the beach with my cousins.”

“Marina and Estella?”

“No. Nicky and Tony. Anyway, Tony had a raft – nothing fancy, just one of those inflatable pool toys – and the three of us were using it as a kickboard, not really paying attention to where we were, and suddenly we were almost at the ropes and buoys marking the channel.”

“Ropes and buoys?”

“You seriously need to visit the beach more.”

“We live in a landlocked state.”

“Details, details. Yes, ropes and buoys. You’re not supposed to swim past them. We’d drifted pretty far out – the tide was carrying us.”

“No one noticed?” He caught the end of one of my messy braids between two fingers and rolled it back and forth, tugging slightly.

“Oh, people noticed. The lifeguards were blowing their whistles and screaming for us to come in, and Aunt Nunzia was jumping up and down on the beach, a veritable poster child for the tern ‘conniption fit.’”

“So what happened?

“We turned around and started kicking and paddling for all we were worth – three little kids, sprawled across a single raft, in water so deep we couldn’t see the bottom, let alone touch it.”

“Obviously you made it back to shore.”

I pulled my head back, freeing my hair from his possession. “Obviously. Anyway, it felt like forever, but we finally got into shallower water, and the boys were able to touch bottom – they were taller than me – but I couldn’t quite. I held onto the raft and stretched my feet way down and I touched something…”

“Something…?”

“The something I was touching moved past me in the water, and scraped against my skin – it was like swimming past sandpaper.”

“That’s it? That’s your shark encounter? Did you even see the thing?”

“Well, no.”

“Then how do you know it was a shark?”

“Because that stretch of water is a nursery for white sharks.”

“That proves nothing.”

“And because I just know.”

“You do?” He was skeptical.

“Women always know.”

“Uh-huh.”

“No, it’s true. For example, I know that if I kiss you, you always smile.” I did, and he did. “And I know that given half a chance you’ll spend the entire day sleeping, and then complain you got nothing done.”

“That might be true.”

“It is true.”

“It still doesn’t answer the question,” he claimed. “Not really.”

It was also true that when I straddled him and began to kiss him again, he completely forgot whatever question he thought he’d been asking.

Her Name is Jane

Jane Honda

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my first episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Her Name is Jane

We took her home on Tuesday evening, after a morning of testing, a discussion over a lunch of comfort food, and even using our “phone a friend’ option.

I said, “We should flip a coin.”

He said, “You know if we did that I’d insist that we flip it several times in a row, and then graph the responses.”

I said, “Three times is enough.”

We called our regular mechanic.

The manager said, “I like Subarus; they run forever. Get the 2015 Forester.”

The lead technician said, “I like Hondas; they run forever. Get the 2014 CR-V.”

After we hung up, he admitted that the manager’s first response was actually, “Buy whichever car the missus likes better.”
Smart man, that garage manager.

We called the dealer of the car we’d chosen, only to find that someone else was doing paperwork on it. “We have another one that meets all your specs,” he said, “but it’s got a navigational system, which means it’s $1,400 more expensive.”

He’d already tried to get us to consider a less expensive model than what we were considering, after listening to our needs and wants.
We bought the more expensive version.

Her name is Jane.

Jane Honda.

Sunday Brunch: That 70′s Summer

Slumber Party

My latest Sunday Brunch piece is up at All Things Girl. We’re filling the blog, while we continue to rebuild the rest of our site since it was hacked – badly – in June.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

If the “slumber party” was small – me and just one or two friends – we’d set up camp in my bedroom. If the group was larger, we’d take over the den or the living room. I’m sure we watched movies, but since VCRs were not yet commonplace, and DVDs hadn’t even been invented, but what I remember are the games and stories.

Slumber party games when I was seven, eight, and nine, were still pretty innocent, and the favorite thing to play was “Light as a Feather; Stiff as a Board.” There are many versions of it, and many explanations for why it becomes possible for four girls to lift a fifth using just two fingers each, but the reality is that as much as, as children, we wanted to pretend it was magic, the chant just helps to unify everyone, and the rest is basic physics.

The rest of the piece can be found HERE.

Image Copyright: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo

Dormant

reading in bed

It’s just over a month til my birthday (5 weeks from Sunday, actually) and I’ve entered the period of the year when I’m sort of creatively dormant. I think, I plan, I read, and lift weights, and play in the kitchen, but my writing slows down to the bare minimum.

Once the calendar page flips to August, however – once it turns to MY month – my creativity always comes surging back like a huge wave breaking over a jetty.

Cool, ferocious, blue-green creativity.

For now though, I have a pot of pasta that will soon become a bowl of aglia e olio, and a chilled wine that’s light and neither too sweet nor too dry, and a beachy novel to read.

Dormant? Maybe.

But it’s just part of my personal cycle.

Thursday 13: Rainy Day Quotations

Closeup of Little Girl in Red Boots by Michael Simons

I haven’t done a Thursday 13 in a while, I started this last Thursday when it was rainy, but then I never finished it for whatever reason. It’s not rainy today, but rather, windy, so I’m going to just do weather-related quotations. Enjoy.

  1. “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~John Updike
  2. “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes
  3. “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.” ~Hosea Ballou
  4. “Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” ~Augustus Hare
  5. “A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.” ~Rachel Carson
  6. “There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind.” ~Annie Dillard
  7. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” ~Alfred Wainright
  8. “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” ~Joan Didion
  9. Spooky wild and gusty; swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by, fleeing windflung deadwood that cracks and thumps behind.” ~Dave Beard
  10. “Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” ~Earl Wilson
  11. “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
  12. “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” ~Jane Austen”
  13. “What my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
    Under my head till morning; but the rain
    Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply…”
    ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Image Credit: Michael Simons via 123rf.com

Dancing Fools

Ballerina Warming Up by David Gilbert

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
~ Japanese Proverb

I’ve taken dance classes on and off since I was five years old. It started, as it does for most little girls, with ballet. Ballet is still my favorite.

Later it became tap, jazz (my second favorite), show dancing (basically lite ballroom meant for actors), and even hip-hop.

These days, I pretty much dance in my kitchen, and my living room. My life is a musical, and I sing and dance my way through every task, and even dance with my dogs. Especially Teddy. Teddy is an awesome partner. He’s part Catahoula, so dancing comes naturally.

I keep trying to convince Fuzzy to take a ballroom class with me, but he’s the quintessential white boy with no rhythm. He will, however, dance with me in the kitchen, when Teddy lets him cut in.

I love that we’ve been married 19 years and we still dance in the kitchen and sing silly songs to each other.

Image Credit:David Gilbert via 123RF.com